Debris found on Big Woody's coral reef shocks survey team

WITH an appalling amount of marine debris found on the coral reef near Big Woody Island, a team of Reef Check Australia volunteers cleaned up the site at the weekend to try to rehabilitate the area.

Woody Island had the highest level of marine debris recorded by the group during its 2012 surveys.

Two other Fraser Coast sites, at ESA Park and at Gatakers Bay, are also being monitored.

Jodi Salmond, from Reef Check, said it was clear January's floods had damaged the reef system.

The group would continue to monitor the area in the coming years.

Ms Salmond said a lot of the debris found at the reef near Big Woody Island was due to recreational fishing, as that section of reef was just clear of the Great Sandy Conservation Park.

The monitoring system was initiated at the three Fraser Coast sites last year, with the surveys of the sites collecting information about reef composition, the abundance of key invertebrates and anything that might be impacting on the health of the reef. The Reef Check volunteers will be visiting more than 25 reef sites from the Fraser Coast to the Gold Coast over the next six weeks.

Ms Salmond said the group would continue to monitor the sites as long as they could fund it, with plans to continue checking the reefs in place for at least the next few years.

She said the team hoped they would witness the recovery of the area from the damage done by the storms, floods and the sediment that had done so much damage to the reefs.



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